NEW DELHI: India has greatly improved its business environment as tourists, who earlier had to deal with "red tape", now get a "red carpet welcome", Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said Friday after he gave Andhra Pradesh the Best State award for overall growth in tourism category.
Speaking at the National Tourism Awards 2017-2018 ceremony on the World Tourism Day, Naidu urged all stakeholders of the industry to be especially mindful of their ecological footprints.
He also called for more responsible and sustainable tourism practices.
"The government has also taken several decisive steps to make the country accessible and safe to travellers. India has also greatly improved its business environment, the ease of doing business, overall travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions, infrastructure and information and communications technology.
"There is no red tape, only red carpet welcome for all those who want to come to India," he said.
A total of 76 awards were given under various categories this year. Goa and Madhya Pradesh were the joint winners in the Adventure Tourism category and Uttarakhand won the award for the Best Film Promotion-Friendly State.
Telangana won the award for the Best State for the innovative use of IT.
Hotel 'The Ashok', a flagship property of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), was awarded the Best Hotel Based Meeting Venue.
Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Prahlad Singh Patel and Secretary-General of World Tourism Organisation Zurab Pololikashvili were also present on the occasion.
Naidu urged students to undertake 'Bharat Darshan' to learn about various facets of India's culture, heritage, languages and cuisine and enhance their understanding of the unique cultural mosaic of the country.
"This understanding would help them devise ingenious and effective solutions to the challenges faced by the country today," he said.
The vice president also underscored the country's tremendous potential in the field of medical tourism and said that India must leverage its ancient practices of healing such as Ayurveda and Yoga to attract more tourists who seek holistic wellness.
Patel in his address said that the tourism industry is like a tractor whose every part is essential for the overall health of the machine.
He urged all stakeholders, from guides to tour operators to drivers to work together in order to run the tourism industry seamlessly.